Shooting Star Sculpture

Category: Play
Burbank, CA

The project consists of a new 35-foot-tall sculpture installed at a new corporate campus located at the site of the old Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Building in Burbank, California. The piece is named after Lockheed Martin’s P-80 Shooting Star, the first jet fighter used by the U.S. Air Force during World War II, and honors Lockheed engineers’ contributions to the aviation industry. The sculpture is composed of seven discrete sections that resemble aircraft wings. The sections are identical in shape and size, each with a “wingspan” of over 26 feet. All sections are interconnected to one another with a series of steel plates and welds to form the illusion of jets flying through the sky.

The three lowest wing components serve as supports, forming a “tripod,” for the structural steel frame constructed of rectangular and round steel tubes welded together at various angles. Each wing section is clad with a teardrop-shaped stainless-steel shell to emulate the aerodynamic features of typical aircraft wings. In addition to its self-weight and typical wind and seismic loading, the sculpture was also designed to withstand temperature differentials and the potential weight of people who may climb or play on it. The designers were able to maintain structural integrity as well as the artist’s vision, keeping the main components of the structure as self-supporting elements with no additional structural elements beyond foundations.

Photo Credit: Richard Deutsch Studio

Architect Richard Deutsch Studio
Contractor Cheney Metals
Excellence in Structural Engineering - Award of Merit - Special-Use Structures

Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), 2022